We will be closed Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day. Regular business hours will resume on Tuesday, May 28.

Thermal Spray and Anti-Slip Surface Coatings: Everything You Need to Know About Friction

Friction Coating on Roll

Friction. The resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another. We live everyday experiencing varying degrees and scenarios of friction. The scrape of pushing a chair back to stand up, the scratch of sandpaper on wood, the wear of a print roll shaft as it rotates. All examples of friction, some desirable, some not. In most industrial situations we seek to reduce friction, but in some select scenarios friction isn’t only okay but essential.

When is Increasing Friction the Right Call?

Printing and Web SlippageThe most ideal example that comes to mind is for the printing and packaging industry. Most feeding operations require something to be fed through many rollers in a uniform manner to ensure precise placement. These rolls, such as pacing rolls and pull rolls, benefit from friction. In printing for example, better surface tension means faster press speed. Better friction prevents web slippage and ensures tight starts. All of these could result in an increase in production. When more friction is beneficial, thermal spray coating can be a cost-effective way to increase surface roughness.

Thermal Spray and Anti-Slip Surface Coatings

Along with the wear resistant benefits of thermal spray, friction coatings can easily be stripped and recoated if a surface wears down without damaging the part. Thermal spray coatings can also be applied without part distortion, warping or cracking. When designed correctly, parts can be coated without taking up space, as opposed to temporary paper wraps or glues which can make them thicker or wider. Depending on the material used for coating, there may be additional benefits to aid in production.


Since friction is involved, a good thermal spray friction coating will also be a wear resistant coating. Carbides like tungsten or chrome carbide, ceramics, stainless steels and nickel alloys such as nickel chrome are great candidates for anti-slip coatings. When deciding between these coatings you can look at factors such as the desired roughness, budget and coating hardness to determine the best solution.

High Friction Coating Applications

While in-feed rolls are our most common high friction coating, these coatings have many applications. Parts such as reel drums, winders, carpet rolls, traction rollers, friction discs, and grip fingers are all good candidates for thermal spray friction enhancement. Friction increasing coatings can also be beneficial on tool surfaces, part holders, tooling fixtures and collets. Thermal spray can also be used for safety coatings such as grates, sidewalks and stair treads. For the packaging industry, some converting and cutting parts can benefit from friction coating as well.

Engineered Friction Solutions

While many ways exist to increase friction on surfaces, thermal spray can be an efficient, budget-friendly industrial solution that also extends the service life of parts. Especially in the printing and packaging industry, thermal spray coatings can increase efficiency and prevent web slippage. Since many materials can be used to create thermal spray high friction coatings, they come with other benefits including wear resistance, corrosion resistance and even dielectric and thermal barrier benefits if desired.

Many industrial components are good candidates for these coatings. Thermal spray can even be used to build up previously worn surfaces while easily adding friction characteristics to salvage used parts. If the coating wears down and loses its efficiency, it can easily be stripped and recoated without the expense of a new component, while keeping the old parts from the scrap bin. This form of remanufacturing is a large benefit of thermal spray and can aid in promoting a circular economy. Overall thermal spray is a beneficial solution to increase the friction of industrial machine parts.

Learn more...